Dometic president denies allegations in class-action lawsuit

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Dometic Corp. president Frank Marciano is responding to a lawsuit that alleges the company knowingly sold defective refrigerators that caught fire on five RV owners’ vehicles.

“First and foremost, we place the highest priority on the safety of our products and those who enjoy them,” Marciano said in a letter sent to RV OEM customers, dealers and retailers that was obtained by Trade Only Today. “We are proud of our safety record, rigorous testing protocols in our factories and CSA certification of our refrigerators.”

A decade ago, out of “an abundance of caution,” the company issued a recall to address “a potential safety defect with some of our refrigerators manufactured prior to 2006 — a recall which we expanded in 2008,” Marciano wrote.

The recall remains in effect today, Marciano said.

“As you well know, we are a leading provider of absorption refrigerators to the RV industry and we have a legacy of satisfied customers who use our solutions while camping,” Marciano wrote. “We have earned our first-rate reputation through decades of supplying absorption refrigerators of excellent quality and providing outstanding customer service. In addition, we are investing more in R&D than ever before to develop innovative products that the industry can be proud of.”

“We believe that the allegations made in the complaint are without merit and we will vigorously oppose them,” Marciano concluded, reiterating the company’s initial statement regarding the lawsuit.

Hagens Berman, a group that has leveraged successful class-action litigation against giants such as Philip Morris and is taking on Volkswagen for its role in the emissions controversy, filed a class-action suit against Dometic on April 21, saying it sold defective refrigerators that can spontaneously ignite on boats and RVs.

The 80-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California said the refrigerators have caused or contributed to at least 3,000 fires since 1997, resulting in more than $100 million in property damage and personal injury claims.

Dometic has three weeks after being served to respond.

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